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Due by a brother worm to me,
“A kindly smile to all she lent,
“ All fled my rage—the villain first, Whose craft my jealousy had nursed ;
He sought in far and foreign clime To 'scape the vengeance of his crime. The manner of the slaughter done Was known to few, my guilt to none; Some tale my faithful steward framedI know not what-of shaft mis-aim'd; And even from those the act who knew, He hid the hand from which it flew. Untouch'd by human laws I stood, But God had heard the cry of blood !There is a blank upon my mind, A fearful vision ill-defined, Of raving till my flesh was torn, Of dungeon-bolts and fetters wornAnd when I waked to woe more mild, And question'd of my infant child(Have I not written, that she bare A boy, like summer morning fair ?) With looks confused my menials tell, That armed men in Mortham dell Beset the nurse's evening way, And bore her, with her charge, away. My faithless friend, and none but he, Could profit by this villany; Him, then, I sought, with purpose dread Of treble vengeance on his head ! He 'scaped me—but my bosom's wound Some faint relief from wandering found; And over distant land and sea I bore my load of misery.
“ 'Twas then that fate my footsteps led Among a daring crew and dread, With whom full oft my hated life I ventured in such desperate strife, That even my fierce associates saw My frantic deeds with doubt and awe.
Much then I learn'd, and much can show,
“I heard-obey'd—and homeward drew;
Scott. LABOUR AND RECREATION.
OUR modern system of division of labour divides wits also. The more
necessity there is, therefore, for finding in recreation something to expand man's intelligence. There are intellectual pursuits almost as much divided as pin-making ; and many a man goes through some intellectual process, for the greater part of his working hours, which corresponds with the making of a pin's-head. Must there not be some danger of a general contraction of mind from this convergence of attention upon something very small, for so considerable a portion of man's life?
I have seen it quoted in Aristotle, that the end of labour is to gain leisure. It is a great saying. We have in modern times a totally wrong view of the matter. Noble work is a noble thing, but not all work. Most people seem to think that any business is in itself something grand ; that to be intensely employed, for instance, about something which has no truth, beauty, or usefulness in it, which makes no man happier or wiser, is still the perfection of human endeavour, so that the work be intense. It is the intensity, not the nature of the work, that men praise. You see the extent of this feeling in little things. People are so ashamed of being caught for a moment idle, that if you come upon the most industrious servants or workmen whilst they are standing looking at something which interests them, or fairly resting, they move off in a fright, as if they were proved, by a moment's relaxation, to be neglectful of their work. Yet it is the result that they should mainly be judged by, and to which they should appeal. But amongst all classes, the working itself, incessant working, is the thing deified. Now what is the end and object of most work? To provide for animal wants. Not a contemptible thing, by any means, but still it is not all in all with man. Moreover, in those cases where the pressure of bread-getting is fairly past, we do not often find men's exertions lessened on that account. There enter into their minds as motives, ambition, a love of hoarding, or a fear of leisure, things which, in moderation, may be defended or even justified, but which are not so peremptorily, and upon the face of them excellent, that they at once dignify excessive labour.
The truth is, that to work insatiably requires much less mind than 10
work judiciously, and less courage than to refuse work that cannot be done honestly. For a hundred men whose appetite for work can be driven on by vanity, avarice, ambition, or a mistaken notion of advancing their families, there is about one who is desirous of expanding his own nature and the nature of others in all directions, of cultivating many pursuits, of bringing himself and those around him in contact with the universe in many points, of being a man and not a machine.